- The infamous fall took place at the 2015 Cheltenham Festival opening day.
- Odds-on favourite Annie Power was four lengths clear but agonisingly fell at the last hurdle.
- The dramatic fall at the last hurdle saved the bookies an estimated £100m pay-out.
The Cheltenham Festival is just around the corner, but as thousands of punters flock to Prestbury Park for the four exhilarating days of National Hunt racing, while others look for the best Cheltenham betting odds, there is still one infamous moment at the Gloucestershire course that hunts so many punters.
The scene is set, the 2015 Cheltenham Festival opening day. The sun beaming down on the hallowed turf as spectators at the course and all over the country get geared up for the four hot favorites, all trained by the successful Willie Mullins and ridden by jockey Ruby Walsh, to sweep aside their competition and win the top opening races.
Thousands had placed singles, double, trebles, lucky 15s, accumulators, you name it on the hugely-popular Irish duo winning the first four Grade One races of the festival, and it started so well in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
French import Douvan, who will go up against Cheltenham legend Altior in this year’s Queen Mother Champion Chase at the festival, came from the middle of the pack to lead over the last hurdle before winning by distance.
Odds-on favourite Un De Sceaux, another French import, followed up with a victory in the Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase, leading most of the way before winning comfortably ahead of Ireland’s God’s Own and Josses Hill.
The punters where made to sweat for over an hour as a Grade Three Handicap Chase, won by The Druids Nephew, interrupted their eagerly anticipated Grade One races.
However, the roars echoed around the Prestbury Park stands as Faugheen, who is favorite to win the Marsh Novices’ Chase on the third day of this year’s festival, stormed three lengths clear at the last before holding off fellow Mullins trained Arctic Fire to secure the victory.
This was it, it was all down to odds-on favorite Annie Power. The day had planned out exactly how the punters and the Irish duo had wanted, and the bookmakers looked set for an almighty bashing. Only 13 hurdles across two miles and three furlongs stood between Annie Power, who had won 10 of his 11 hurdles races to date, and millions being won.
It looked like the perfect run from the Irish horse as she gained headway three out, before leading well two hurdles from the finish, the punters where already thinking of ways to spend their winnings. However, four lengths clear and destined for victory, Annie Power agonizingly fell at the last leaving lasting scars in the memories of those who backed her.
To make matters worse, it is estimated that the dramatic fall at the last hurdle saved the bookies an estimated £100m pay-out.
Walsh, who claims to have watched the video ‘100 times,’ has recently revealed that he doesn’t regret the way in which Annie Power fell.
“I would ride her to the last hurdle the very same way every time,” Walsh told Paddy Power.
“I have no regrets about Annie Power. That was just something that happened.
“I’ve watched it one hundred times, I would ride her to the last hurdle the very same way every time.
“She stepped, I didn’t step, she stepped. I made the decision on Commanche Court, I didn’t make the decision on her back. So I’ve no regrets about Annie Power.”